Open Club nights start on the 9th September

So last tonight concluded our regular online Thursday evenings, and great fun they were.
For the past eighteen months we’ve been able to continue playing chess with each other. This of course was due to Graham Cluley building the platform at the start of the first lock-down in March 2020.

Thanks a million Graham, it was a god send.

Next week we shall reconvene once again at the club.
Thursday 9th September at 7pm.

The OCA 20/21 season commences during the last week of September. Only three divisions this season, as a number of clubs have reduced their teams.
Cumnor 1 remain in Division 1, and Cumnor 2 play in Division 3.

When we meet next Thursday can we please do the following:
Bring a mask, in case you wish, or your opponent wishes you to wear one.
Bring your own refreshments, and take any empties and waste home with you.
Sanitiser will be available. Please use the sanitiser prior to playing a game.

The club now has seventeen digital clocks, which is enough for match and club play during the same evening. The OCA 20/21 season requires digital clocks to be used only. We have therefore complied with this new ruling. The club will still have a few analog clocks on site should they be needed by anyone.

We looking forward to next Thursday, fingers crossed it will be permanent.

Message from Steve Bennett 03/09/2021

The 2021-22 Season!

Some great news… Over the Board League Chess will be back in the Autumn with Cumnor 1 remaining in Division One while Cumnor 2 will join the combined Division Three and Four, which will from now on be called Division Three. All this is yet to be confirmed but it is exciting! Cumnor is currently planning to open the doors in September.

Roger Thetford’s report follows:

Responses from the clubs revealed that we had 22 teams plus two possibles for next year’s ODCL. Banbury could confirm only one team but may be able to raise two; Oxford Brookes would like to enter a team but will not know until September whether they have enough players. The Committee meeting held on 19 May decided to allow the clubs until 30 June to enter any further teams, after which the fixture list for the 2021-22 season will be set up.

When we abandoned the 2019-20 league we said that relegation and promotion would not apply. Applying this and eliminating the missing teams from the bottom upwards removes Banbury 3, Bicester 2, Cowley 5 and 6, Didcot 3 and Witney 4, leaving the divisional structure as 8-8-4-3. Combining the bottom two divisions and adding the possible new Brookes team to the new Division 3 gives the following.

Division 1 (8 teams): Banbury 1, Cowley 1, Cowley 2, Cumnor 1, Didcot 1, Oxford City 1, Oxford Univ 1, Witney 1.

Division 2 (8 teams): Banbury 2, Bicester 1, Cowley 3, Didcot 2, Oxford City 2, Oxford Univ 2, Witney 2, Wantage 1.

Division 3 (8 teams): Abingdon School, Cowley 4, Cumnor 2, Oxford Brookes (possible), Oxford City 3, Oxford Univ 3, Wantage 2, Witney 3.

This structure, agreed by the Committee, is provisional, depending on decisions from Banbury and Oxford Brookes. Unless an influx of extra teams allows us to revert to four divisions, rule- changes will be proposed at the AGM to reflect the new three- division structure. (The AGM date was set as Thu 16 Sep.)

All of this assumes that we will be able to return to OTB chess by October.

Mike Duck Online Tournament: The Final Rounds

Sorry this is a bit delayed I have been pretty busy over the last few weeks.

Cumnor 2 definitely blew hot and cold this tournament, with a bye in the first round they had the unfortunate task of playing Oxford 1 and Oxford University 2 in second and third rounds, both of these matches ended 6-0. In the forth round the result was another 6-0 but this time to Cumnor 2, beating Cowley 2. The fifth round saw the closest match against Cowley 1, with Cowley defaulting one game Cumnor ran into a 2- (negative) 1 lead. However, Cowley 1 had to fight for the remaining games and maybe on a different day Cumnor 2 might held out but it wasn’t meant to be. This would have been the shock of the tournament if it had happened.

The final round had Cumnor 2 pitted against Oxford City 2 and this time the result was back in our favour with a 4.5-1.5 win. Overall Cumnor 2 did very well, beating the other “2” teams they played against and finished respectably in mid-table above such powerhouses as Witney 1 and Banbury 1!

After the first three rounds of the Mike Duck Online Tournament Cumnor 1 was sat in a healthy position near the top of the table with 2 wins and a loss. The problem with this is that you end up playing some tough teams! Our forth round match was against Witney 1, in the furloughed 2019-20 season Witney 1 was one of only 3 teams who finished above Cumnor 1, so was this the chance we needed to show what we could have done if we had played the final few matches? The answer is yes, a good 4.5-1.5 win.

However, in our fifth round match we were up against the second strongest team in the tournament, a match against Oxford City 1 (this means we have played all the teams who finished above us in the league). In what was probably the best match of the competition Cumnor 1 pulled the rabbit out of the hat and got the win. Nick agreed a draw with 4 games still to go after looking at the remaining matches and prophesying that we would eventually win, Nick got any numbers for the lottery this weekend?

Mark’s match is a particularly nice win with a galavanting King and a couple of pawns which the whole game revolved around, Ian has put together all the games and they can be found here if you chance a watch.

Going into the final round first place was still within our grasp, well it would take an amazing set of results but we still had a chance. A Cumnor win and an Oxford Uni loss of 5-1 or more would mean we would win the tournament, a win would guaranty second place while a lost or draw would drop us down the table. Cowley 1 had all the big guns out and sadly we fell at the final hurdle losing 3.5-2.5. Oxford Uni won against Banbury so they won the First Mike Duck Tournament and deservedly so. Cumnor 1’s final position was third a very good achievement. The final table can be found here.

The Second Mike Duck Tournament starts on the 18th January 2021 with 4 player a teams so there might be (for the first time ever) a Cumnor 3! We are still planning to have online chess on a Thursday night over Christmas (again for the first time), if you aren’t up to much on Christmas eve or New Years eve… and lets be honest their isn’t much going on so you might as well.

So please have a Merry and Safe Christmas and New Year and hopefully next year we will get back to playing over the board chess. We will have a mighty celebration once we do!

Mike Duck Online Tournament: Round 3

Another week down and another round of the Mike Duck Online Tournament. Both teams had been given reasonably difficult draws in the third around. With two wins from two Cumnor 1 played one of the favorites, Oxford University 1 a team who has been winning pretty much everything locally over the last few years.

While Cumnor 2 have one win and one loss, with the win being a bye in the first round. The bye pushed the team up the table and has caused them to play some tough teams in this case Oxford University 2.

Cumnor 2 suffered another 6-0 loss against Oxford University 2 on Thursday but both Graham and Gareth had some chances during the course of the match.

Board Cumnor 2 Oxford University 2
1 (B) Stevens, Gareth 0 – 1 Enescu, Tudor
2 (W) Carr, Robin 0 – 1 Finn, Chris
3 (B) Bennett, Steven 0 – 1 Pearson, Taylor
4 (W) Cluley, Grahamg 0 – 1 Rochowicz, Nils
5 (B) Hudson, Andrew 0 – 1 Moss, Thomas
6 (W) Monteiro, Pedro 0 – 1 Cinaroglu, Suleyman
Total 0 0 – 6

Cumnor 1 lost 4-2 which is actually the best result by a team playing against Oxford University 1 so far this season. Ian and Nigel picked up the wins, Nigel’s game was particularly enjoyable with a queen sac to promote a pawn in the midgame. At one point it was 2-2 but the match fell away from us.

Board Cumnor 1 Oxford University 1
1 (B) Burrows, Nick 0 – 1 Mihov, Filip
2 (W) MacQueen,Stuart 0 – 1 French, Max
3 (B) Moyse, Nigel J 1 – 0 Miller, Dominic
4 (W) Alizada, Eldar 0 – 1 Fu, Yuting
5 (B) Sayers, Mark 0 – 1 Ramaiya, Anshu
6 (W) Bush, Ian 1 – 0 Bacon, Nicolas
Total 0 2 – 4 Total 0

If you would like to take a look at the tournament, see the results and fixtures along with the table it can be found here.
The draw for round four happened last night after the end of the matches, Oxford University 1 v Oxford City 1 is THE stand out match.

Mon 16 Nov University 1 : Oxford City 1
Mon 16 Nov Witney 2 : Cowley 1
Mon 16 Nov Cowley 2 : Cumnor 2
Mon 16 Nov Oxford City 2 : Abingdon 1
Thu 19 Nov Cumnor 1 : Witney 1
Thu 19 Nov University 2 : University 3
Thu 19 Nov Banbury 1 : Didcot 1

Cumnor 1 and 2 have similarly ranked opponents next week which should create some good games.

Mike Duck Online Tournament: Round 1

The season started with a bang last night as Cumnor 1 won against Witney 2 in the first round of the Mike Duck Online Tournament.

Home Cumnor 1 Witney 2 Away
1 (B) MacQueen, Stuart ½ – ½ Moss, Patrick
2 (W) Alizada, Eldar 1 – 0 Gilders, Ian
3 (B) Burrows, Nick 1 – 0 Kilbride-Newman, Robert (Bob)
4 (W) Terrington, Simon 1 – 0 Turner, Roger
5 (B) Glenn, Liam 1 – 0 Manning, Charlie
6 (W) Stevens, Gareth 1 – 0 Tomkys, Tony
5½ – ½

The five wins and the single draw puts Cunmor 1 at the top (joint along with City 1) of the early season table. Cumnor 2 had a bye in the first round and therefore sit in the top half. However, Cumnor 2 have been “rewarded” with a match against City 1 in the second round draw with the match scheduled for Monday evening. Cumnor 1 will play against Oxford University 2 who overcame Witney 1 in their first match, on Thursday.

If you would like to take a look at the tournament, see the results and fixtures along with the table it can be found here.

It looks like both teams will have a tougher week next than last!

2020-21 Season Goes Online

With the Coronavirus epidemic still being a problem and government rules changing every 10 minutes it has been decided that the Oxfordshire Chess League will move entirely to an online tournament for the coming season. Notes from the AGM can been seen below with the new tournament starting at the end of October.

More information will be published in due course.

*Notes from AGM*

For the 20/21 season, the OCA league will not compete as we normally do.

Instead, there shall be two separate Swiss tournaments played online. The platform will be The first tournament starts on the week commencing Monday 26th October. This tournament will consist of six rounds with a game played every week for six weeks. Game time will be 45 minutes plus 15 seconds per move.

All the teams will be pooled together, with the fixtures pulled out of a hat.

Cumnor will enter both of our teams into both tournaments. Liam will run the first team while Steve will run the second.

During the meeting we found that a number of clubs had difficulty being able to put out all of their teams to play online. Most notably Banbury, whom are only able to field one team to play online this season. Bicester said they cannot field a single team. Didcot said it could field one team and Wantage stressed they were struggling.

The second Swiss tournament will take place after Christmas, and will consist of eight rounds, with a game played each week over eight weeks. Depending on how the first tournament works, may influence how the second tournament works. For example two tiers, one for stronger teams and the other for weaker teams.
Nothing concrete was concluded, but the general consensus is to make it as simple as possible.

Your new Over the Board chess grades will not be affected by these tournaments. These online games qualify for an ECF online grade.

It was suggested that only players with ECF membership may take part. This is one of the things that Ian is going to clarify.

A few clubs stressed a preference for a team to consist of four players only for the 20/21 on-line tournaments. This was voted out by a significant majority of the clubs wishing to maintain six boards. This of course means more of us can get involved in this season’s online competitive chess.

The Swiss tournaments will be played weekly. Matches will be played on the evening of the clubs normal club night. Therefore, if Cumnor teams are drawn first, then we shall play the fixture on Thursday as usual.

I believe only Cumnor and some of Cowley’s teams play on Thursdays. No club plays on Fridays.

2020-21 Season

We need to come together to put in place how the League will work this coming season.

The season traditionally starts in October so if you have ideas, queries or concerns please let Ian or Roger know.

“The 20-21 season is rapidly approaching. Due to the current pandemic it will be very different from any in recent history. Concrete proposals to address this will be made at the AGM in September, and will be available in full later this month. However we thought it best to provide as early as possible an outline of the ways that we might play chess next season in order to obtain feedback, and to this end the document linked to below discusses how the league might be run next season. Comments on the proposals contained therein would be much appreciated. If you have any please either contact your club representative, or send an email to the League Secretary, Roger Thetford”

Ian Bush OCA Chairman


As you will probably be aware the Coronavirus has taken its toll on the sporting calendar. The chess leagues have also been affected with all league matches (in Oxfordshire) being postponed for the next 3 weeks. This will affect Cumnor 1’s matches against Didcot 1, Colwey 1 and City 1. While Cumnor 2 has only one match postponed against Witney 4.

As soon as we learn anything new I will post it on the website, please see below for the latest announcement.

The OCA Chairman and Secretary have been informed that within the next couple of days the ECF will be advising local leagues to suspend matches for a period of three weeks, owing to the potential to transmit coronavirus. We therefore strongly recommend that the ODCL fixtures scheduled to take place in the period Monday 16 March to Sunday 5 April are not played.

We will consult with the Committee and will reassess the situation in due course. It is too early to decide on rescheduling matches, whether the suspension should be lifted after 5 April, and on what to do if the matches in the 2019-20 season cannot be completed.

See the news item on the OCA website for details.

Kidlington Chess Tournament 2020

It was a successful weekend for the Cumnor players at Kidlington. Gareth won the U145 with 4.5 (out of 5)! While in the Open, Eldar ended with 2.5 (all out of 5) and Nick and Nigel both finished with 2 points. Both Nick and Nigel were in the running for the Oxfordshire Individual Chess Champion for 2020 going into the final round but it was eventually won by Dimitrios Zakarian. Ian played in the U180’s and finished with 2.5 and Robin ended with 2.5 in the U120’s.

Congratulations to Gareth on his well deserved victory!

Check out Gerard O’Reilly’s Tournament report below and more information such as the cross tables can be found here.

“Tournament Report, 2020
The 43rd annual Kidlington Tournament was held on the weekend of 1 & 2 February at our regular venue, Exeter Hall. Despite a somewhat lower number of entries (182 at the time entries closed) than last year, we were unaffected by bad weather and therefore started with a very healthy total of 180 players in the draw for the first round: 20 in the Open section, 46 in the U180, 59 in the U145, and 55 in the U120 section.

We were back with our regular team of controllers throughout the weekend this year, Tim Dickinson (Open & U180), Priscilla Morris (U145), and Lucy Smith (U120). After the software problems of last year, we switched this year to Swiss-Manager as our tournament software, and that all went very smoothly, with the rest of the team benefiting from Tim’s expertise with the program. I am, as always, most grateful to all three of them for their hard work, calmness, and efficiency.

In the Open section, FM Marcus Harvey of Witney Chess Club was a point clear on 100% after four rounds, and therefore repeated his outright victory of last year despite being held to a draw in the final round by Oxford University’s Yuting Fu. FM Daniel Abbas (Oxford University) finished clear second on 4 points, followed by IM Andrew Greet (Bearsden) and Yuting Fu (Oxford University) on 3.5 points.

The Open section also incorporated the second leg of the 2019-20 Oxfordshire Individual Championship, the first leg being the Open section at last November’s Witney Congress. The winner would be the player with the highest score from the two legs taken together. It turned out to be a very close finale, though admittedly this was largely because Filip Mihov (Oxford University), the winner at Witney with 4.5/5, was not at Kidlington and Marcus Harvey had not played at Witney.

By the start of Round 5, three players (Nick Burrows and Nigel Moyse of Cumnor Chess Club, plus young Dimitrios Zakarian) had all caught up with the absent Filip Mihov’s Witney total of 4.5 points, with Marcus breathing down their necks on 4. But as things turned out in the final round, Nick and Nigel both lost and, with Marcus being held to a draw, Dimitrios’s draw was good enough for him to take the title of Oxfordsire Individual Chess Champion for 2020. I don’t know for sure (and will welcome correction if I’m mistaken), but I suspect he may well be the youngest ever winner of the title. He also follows in the footsteps of his father, FM David Zakarian, who won the title in 2017.

Garth picking up his cheque for coming joint first in the U145’s.

The U180 section produced a clear winner in David Ireland of Coventry, who scored 4.5 points. Roger de Coverley (Bourne End) fell just short of sharing first place for the third year running, despite again scoring 4 points, but he still shared second place with Anita Somton (West Nottingham) and Witney junior Adam Sieczkowski.

A notable feature of the event was the return to Kidlington of Nick Jones (formerly of Witney Chess Club, and my predecessor as Kidlington organizer), who shared the Veteran Prize with Reading’s Michael Redmond.

The U145 section was won by another Oxfordshire player, with Gareth Stevens (Cumnor) finishing first equal on 4.5 points with Peter Dove from Newbury. Other local players in the prizes were Rod Langham (Oxford City), winner of the Round 1 Loser Prize, and Joshua Soanes of Witney, who took the junior prize.

Only the U120 section winner saw a winner with a 100% score, Oxford resident Zulfi Heydon. Other local players in the prizes were Cowley’s Advaith Panicker, taking the Junior Prize, and Ian Brooke (Oxford City) and Kelly Riley (Cowley), who shared the Veteran Prize.
In the U120 section, remarkable pairings have in the past usually involved a great age disparity between a very young junior and a veteran of many years standing. This year, in Round 1, the pairing of veterans Ian Brooke and Banbury’s Michael Campling produced a game in which the combined age of the players was 183 years!

In the team competition, the winners were Bourne End (Roger de Coverley, David Turner, Darrell Watson, & Juan Perez) with 13 points out of 20.

Andrew Butterworth of Chess Direct again provided the excellent bookstall as well as the boards and sets for the tournament and the clocks we used in the U120 section. And Helen Hackett (Hackett’s Food & Drink of Witney) sustained us through the weekend yet again with the fine selection of refreshments. I thank them both warmly for their important role in making the tournament a success.

After thanking the controlling team of Tim, Priscilla, and Lucy, as well as Andrew and Helen, I want to record my gratitude to Raj Panicker (now my Co-organizer) for all his help with the organization of the event, in particular with the online entries and the tournament website, and for entering the games from the Open section to put on the website, in addition to his taking photos at the Prizegiving.
I also want to thank the staff at Exeter Hall for all their help and courtesy. (Many of you who have been coming for years will will have missed Bert, the caretaker, this time. He has retired since last year’s event, after 27 or 28 Kidlington tournaments, I’m told. But the caretakers who set things up and were on duty at the weekend, mainly Mark and Gerry, were very helpful.)

Last but not least, my thanks to all who came to play at this year’s Kidlington tournament, and particularly those who made donations to our tournament funds—vital to our long-term survival and to our continued ability to provide support for other local chess events during the year.

We shall return to Exeter Hall for our 44th annual Kidlington Chess Tournament on Saturday and Sunday 6 & 7 February 2021. As every year, we look forward not only to welcoming very many returning entrants from this year and previous years but also to welcoming a good number of players coming to Kidlington for the first time. We hope to see you there!

Gerard O’Reilly
(10 February 2020)”

Some Busy Club Nights Ahead

The season is progressing well for both teams. Cumnor 1 are currently 4th out of 8 in Division 1 with 2 wins and a loss in the first 3 matches. While Cumnor 2 are 2nd in division 4 with 2 wins, a draw and a loss.

Both teams have a lot of matches before Christmas, with both teams playing on the same evening two weeks running. This coming Thursday (14th November) Cumnor 1 are playing away to last years double winners Oxford University 1 while Cumnor 2 are playing at home to Cowley 6. The following week (21st November) Cumnor 1 are at home to Banbury 1 and Cumnor 2 are away in the Frank Woods Shield to an Oxford University team.

The club will remain open on these evenings (right up until the 19th December which will be our last Club night before Christmas) but please be aware that 12 players will be playing matches so the opportunity to play friendly and Players Cup and Bill Laar Trophy matches might be a bit thin on the ground.

An updated Players Cup and Bill Laar Trophy can be found here.

Please see which players you have left to play before the end of the year especially if you are in the running for a prize and good luck to the players who are playing for each team.